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Letran stays alive

  • Written by Theodore Jurado
  • Published in Basketball
  • Read: 236

Game Tuesday:

(Mall of Asia Arena)

3:30 p.m. -- San Sebastian vs. Letran (S)ONE down, four more to go to determine Lyceum of the Philippines University’s Finals opponent.

Letran opened its long trek to make it to the championship round with a 70-68 squeaker over
Arellano University in their do-or-die playoff in the NCAA seniors basketball tournament at the Filoil
Flying V Centre yesterday.
    
Jeo Ambohot was in the right place at the right time, scoring a putback off a Rey Nambatac’s
bungled lay-up in the last 3.3 seconds and the Knights made a huge defensive stop in the next
possession to eliminate the Chiefs.
    
Ambohot, fully recovered from a wrist injury he suffered last August, allowed Nambatac to
extend his collegiate career to another game.
    
Up next for Letran, the 2015 champions, is another no-tomorrow duel with San Sebastian to
determine the last qualifier in the step-ladder semifinals on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
    
“Yun ang sinabi ko sa kanila. Tulungan lang akong ipasok kami doon, alam ko na kung paano i-
handle yung ganitong sitwasyon. Basta kailangan ko lang ng tulong nila, yung suporta nila. Iga-guide ko
sila ng tama kung ano ang gusto naming marating,” said Knights coach Jeff Napa.
    
The survivor will play Jose Rizal University in the first step-ladder match on Friday.  The
winner then will take on defending champion San Beda in the second step-ladder game for the other
Finals berth on Nov. 7.
    
The Pirates have gained outright passage to the best-of-three title round after hurdling the
Red Lions in double overtime Thursday to complete a 18-0 sweep of eliminations.
    
Arellano stormed back from a 14-point hole behind Rence Alcoriza and Levi dela Cruz, who has
been solid in the absence of injured guard Kent Salado.
    
Dela Cruz and Alcoriza put the Chiefs in the lead thrice, the last was at 68-67, before
Ambohot’s heroics came into play.
    
“Kailangan naming maglaro ng A-game against Arellano kahit wala yung Salado,” said Napa.
    
Nambatac finished with 25 points, nine rebounds and three assists while Calvo added 11 points,
five boards and two assists for Letran.
    
It was the end of the line for the Chiefs, who after going 5-9 have went into four-game winning
streak to stave off elimination.
    
“It was heartbreaking. We were almost there,” said Arellano coach Jerry Codiñera.
    
The scores:
    
CSJL (70) -- Nambatac 25, Calvo 11, Quinto 9, Balanza 8, Vacaro 6, Balagasay 5, Ambohot 4,
Gedaria 2, Taladua 0.
    
AU (68) -- Dela Cruz 18, Alcoriza 16, Cañete 12, Flores 7, Enriquez 5, Taywan 4, Nicholls 3,
Abanes 3, Concepcion 0, Villoria 0, Ongolo Ongolo 0, Meca 0.
    
Quarterscores: 24-16, 38-36, 54-49, 70-68.